Alabama college plans to bring students home from Italy over virus fears; students will be quarantined when they arrive

Published 9:43 pm Saturday, February 29, 2020

Due to elevated coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the region, effective immediately, Spring Hill College has suspended all academic courses at the Italy Center campus in Bologna through the rest of the current semester. All Italy Center students – regardless from what institution they are attending – were informed they would be returning to their home residence.

At this time, none of the students or staff of the Center are experiencing any symptoms nor has anyone tested positive for the coronavirus.

This decision was made by Spring Hill College officials in Italy and Mobile in the early hours this morning, after the U.S. Department of State elevated the travel advisory in Bologna to Level 3: Reconsider Travel because of an increased risk of infection from the virus. College officials are also managing the process of getting all students home safely.

“Our highest commitment is to our students’ health and safety,” said Spring Hill President E. Joseph Lee II, PhD. “Our priority right now is ensuring that students return home safely.”

“As you can expect, students are feeling the stress, but our entire team is on-site to provide logistical and emotional assistance,” assured Todd Waller, Director of the Center in Bologna. “We are one of many, many U.S. institutions who are suspending programs and sending our students stateside.”

To ensure the safety of our campus community, Spring Hill students returning home from Italy have been directed to stay off campus for a two-week period and will only be allowed to return with a doctor’s note.

Italy Center staff are in place and are assisting students to make plans for their return. The residence hall will remain open until students finalize their travel, and that includes providing meals and having staff on site. The College is also working to put the plan in motion to remotely reconvene classes. Students will be able to complete course work.